Shortlisted entries 2012

13. Fluorescent tadpole visual system
Nicholas Love

How do we see? It’s with the power of our eyes and nervous system of course! Objects are “seen” by the eye and then travel down “neurons” as signals to the brain. The development of the visual system is important to understand because its malfunction is a major cause of blindness. Frogs, and their young tadpoles, are great creatures to study the development and structure of the visual system. For example, a tadpole’s semi-transparent head allows the visual and nervous system to be labelled, visualized, and tracked over time. The image presented is a topdown view of a tadpole head possessing genetically-modified “fluorescent” eyes and nervous system. With the tadpole’s fluorescence, the long highway of “neurons” connecting the eyes (purple) to the brain (red) are easily seen. By studying tadpoles, we are developing a deeper appreciation of the mystery and magic of our own visual system.

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